Categories
African-American Studies

Zombie Culture: From African Legend to Modern Movies

In the 1960s, the movie “Night of the Living Dead” introduced a new kind of monster in horror movies: the zombie (Kay, 2008). Over the last several decades, movies and television shows featuring zombies have become more and more popular. The zombies that are depicted in most modern horror movies and shows are dead bodies that somehow have come back to life, usually from some sort of contagious virus or an environmental catastrophe (Kay). These zombies do not speak or even think; the only thing they care about is eating living things –usually human beings. In most zombie movies and shows, the bite from a zombie will turn the victim into a zombie as well, thereby spreading the zombie plague (Kay). These zombies may only exist in the movies, but the idea of the dead coming back to life as zombies has actually existed for centuries, and is rooted in the religious histories of Africa and Haiti.

            The earliest stories and traditions about zombies originated in parts of Africa, where some people believed that witch doctors had the power to bring the dead back to life (Davis, 1988). Some researchers believe that these witch doctors may have used various plants and herbs to create potions and poisons that could temporarily simulate death in those who took them. Other researchers have theorized that witch doctors and shaman used psychoactive chemicals derived from various botanical sources to induce trancelike states in people. When under the influence of these psychoactive drugs, it has been claimed, the victims would be very open to suggestion, in much the same way as someone who was in a hypnotic trance. The witch doctors would supposedly control the spirits of their victims, and would offer to bring them back to life or to release their spirits from captivity in the victims or their families paid for their release from the witch doctor’s control.

            The word “zombie” is believed to have come from the word Nigerian word “nzambi,” which can mean “god” or “spirit” (Davis). The religious practice of the witch doctors that created zombies was known as Vodun (rhymes with low-dun) (Davis). During the centuries where African slaves were shipped to the West by the thousands, many of the religious traditions of their homelands were brought over as well. The descendants of African slaves who lived in Haiti kept the many of their ancestor’s traditions alive, and the practice of Vodun in Africa gave birth to the Vodu (rhymes with low-doo) traditions that still exist today in Haiti (Davis).

            Vodu, which is still sometime referred to as Vodun, is a religious practice involving shamans who use drums and psychoactive drugs to enter into trance states. During these trance states the shaman can commune with the spirit world and bring back messages to the living. Some people believe that these shaman, like the shaman and witch doctors in Africa, have the power to bring the dead back to life, and to enslave these zombies until they decide to return them to the grave (Brown, 2010).

            Researchers who have studied Vodu and Vodun in Haiti believe that the zombie legends there are similar to the zombie legends from African history. Vodu shaman may use psychoactive plants or trance-inducing poisons to send victims into a state of partial paralysis and suggestibility. The strong influence of the cultural beliefs associated with Vodu may help to reinforce the state of suggestibility, meaning that the poisoned or drugged victims may actually believe that they are dead, and willingly follow the orders they are given by the shaman (Davis). Some researchers have doubts, however, about how long a shaman could actually induce such a state in a victim (Davis). The zombie legends of Haiti describe shaman who have raised people from the dead and kept them in a zombie-like state for years, though most experts believe that this is impossible, or at least very unlikely. What is more likely is that some shaman have induced trance states in victims for a matter of hours or even days, and the legends and stories told about these supposed zombies have been exaggerated over time.

The television shows and movies that depict zombies as the victims of some sort of pandemic or other disaster may not be exactly like the zombies of Haitian Vodu, but it is clear that stories of the dead coming back to life capture the imagination of people from all different cultures and backgrounds. In an age where the threats of nuclear attacks, biological warfare, and terrorism are a reality of life, the idea of a “zombie apocalypse” reflects our deepest fears about a world gone mad (Kay). Just like zombies themselves, the legend of zombies looks like it will be very hard to kill.

 References

Brown, N. R. (2010). The complete idiot’s guide to zombies. New York, NY: Penguin.

Davis, W. (1988). Passage of darkness: The ethnobiology of the Haitian zombie. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. Kay, G. (2008). Zombie movies: The ultimate guide. Chicago, Ill: Chicago Review Press

Categories
African-American Studies

“Letter from Birmingham Jail”

In his famed “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was able to continue to express his views and his messages while behind bars. Dr. King was a rallying point for the Civil Rights Movement as a whole, and he was well aware of the injustices going on outside his prison cell. It was very important Dr. King maintain his communication with the outside world to continue to perpetuate his message of a peaceful and passive resistance. In many ways this letter was also intended to speak to Dr. King’s critics who questioned his nonviolent methods, and to reaffirm the peaceful message he saw for the direction of the Movement as a whole.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in his piece “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” directly named and discussed steps necessary for the necessity of a campaign of passive resistance. This is a very important part of the text, as it directly states that the black population was given no other alternative. This was a very important and powerful message coming from a public figure such as Dr. King, who was largely respected by men and women of both races (by comparison to someone like Malcolm X).

The first step Dr. King mentions specifically is the presentation of the facts that a true injustice does largely exist within an area. Right within the text of the speech he states himself Birmingham’s infamous reputation for being segregated, as well as being a hotbed for racial tension, mentioning home and church bombings in the area.

Next, he names the necessity for an attempt at negotiation to solve the problem. Again, he cites where this went wrong in Birmingham–where the local government directly lied to the black community about change. When negotiation proves itself to be ineffective in resolving the conflict, and in his speech specifically Birmingham, Dr. King cites the very internal process of self-purification.

As Dr. King explains in the text, self-purification is a process by which nonviolent protesters are trained to resist the urge to give in to impulses. Through a series of workshops taught on nonviolence, Dr. King and his associates prepared, and help others prepare for questions such as:’ “Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?”‘, as well as whether they are able, or ready, to endure the real possibility of jail.

The final step in completing the steps toward nonviolent protest as named by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is what he called “direct action”. This refers to the carrying out of various means of nonviolent protest, such as sit-ins and peaceful rallies.

I think that passive resistance can be extremely effective to a certain extent. It certainly should be attempted first, before a violent protest–and taking nothing away from the amazing work of Dr, King–eventually a violent aspect is bound to be necessary. A perfect example is the peaceful demonstrations going on in Tibet for many years–and yet their problem remains.

There are many positive aspects of peaceful resistance. The number one positive aspect, that can be used to the passive sides’ advantage in many cases, is the media. When people see images of violence inflicted on peace, it pulls on heartstrings. It gives an adult, clear and coherent message to go along with the movement.

The negative–it is rarely very effective.

Categories
African-American Studies Psychology

Development in Negative Socio-Economic Situations

Development in Negative Socio-Economic Situations

Children are on the whole impressionable, and therefore likely to replicate behaviors they see as normal or acceptable, and therefore can perpetuate antisocial behaviors they are shown at early ages. When a child who has had a misguided childhood, socio-economically or emotionally, incorrect development can carry these behaviors into later life situations–proving without a doubt that nurture is extremely important when considering child development and antisocial behavior.

The key is that how the child is extremely indicative of the direction the child receives. The “initiative versus guilt” stage is truly important in Erickson’s model–with regards to proper direction, ages three to six children develop the extent to which a child can, or cannot interact with his or her peers. If this stage in development becomes misguided by a lack of a steady support system that the parents’ problems can cause. A child neglected in this stage of Erickson’s model can grow no sense of self-esteem at all, harming chances at any interpersonal relationships as they continue to grow older. In addition, if conflicting social compasses are employed–where what is expected in a neglected home is significantly less than society expects–than this can predispose a child to developing the same problems their parents’ experience.

Categories
African-American Studies

American Dream

INTRODUCTION

In this semester, I have learned the definition of the American Dream, cultures’ fight to achieve their financial and social goals and the characters’ experience in The Raising in the Sun. I have learned how to interpret different types of writing and understand the sociological patterns. The works studied have helped me achieve a better understanding of the history of the United States, the sociological movements and the perception of personal achievement by different classes. In the below essay I would like to discuss the pattern of American Dream and the processes throughout the society during the 20th Century society. I would like to prove the thesis: “The American Dream is not a single idea but a movement that goes on and fights the political forces for equality, opportunity, self-expression and freedom.

Categories
African-American Studies

Annotation on “Myth of the Negro Past”

“Myths of Negro Past” Chapter Five: pgs. 110-142

Chapter Five of the book “Myths of Negro Past” deals primarily with the various and complex ways Africans transposed their culture to adapt to their new lives in both the North American, as well as the South American, continents. Though the chapter as a whole overall shows how African culture was distributed and assimilated, as well as preserved though the America’s, it definitely proves without a doubt that these customs carried over from West Africa by the slave trade were much better preserved in the Central and South American regions.

Categories
African-American Studies

Organizational Technology Plan Paper

Microsoft Company, one of the leading organizations in the field of computer-technology, adapts a very systematic operation by which it is able to control its business assets to assure profitability. To make sure that such assets are considered accordingly and their values are utilized efficiently, the administrators of the Microsoft Company make sure that they utilize technology at its best. At present, at least 70% of the overall operation of the company is handled online.

Categories
African-American Studies

Abortion in the 21st Century

The definition of abortion is the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, or resulting in the death of an embryo or fetus, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary (Abortion).Though this definition does not say that is the ability to murder an unborn child, this is what many people believe that an abortion is. This is a very old debate that continues to progress throughout the years. There are many types of abortion and many different views on the topic.

Categories
African-American Studies

African American Slave Culture

Europe’s racist tendencies towards African’s during the Transatlantic Slave period stemmed from a lack of their ability to understand a culture so different from their own. A major anthropological consideration in studying racism is the concept of ethnocentricity; many societies’ asses other cultures using their own values and believe their own way of life to be superior. Before the Transatlantic Slave period, the Europeans had not had much interaction with the Africans; therefore the behaviors, beliefs, values, and language they observed greatly shocked them because they were so unfamiliar. As a result, Jordan claims in “First Impressions that the Europeans believed the Africans to be savage, heathenistic, beastly, and inferior. In order to fully understand racism in a historical context, it is necessary to interpret the reasoning behind Europe’s feelings of inferiority towards the African community.

Categories
African-American Studies

The Atlantic Slave Trade

The development of what was known as the Atlantic Slave Trade began to arise in the fifteenth century, as the expansion of Western Europe’s influence began to be felt in other parts of the world. West Africa would serve as the primary source of slave labor for much of the Atlantic Slave trade, though it was not the developments of European expansion that created the existence of a slave trade in Africa. For many centuries before the European need for slave labor in its colonies became a driving force of the expanding slave trade, there already existed a thriving slave trade in West Africa. The eventual slave trade that fed the labor needs of colonies in the Americas was based primarily on race, as Native American Indians and Blacks from Africa were those who were primarily enslaved. Before this time, however, Arab slave traders in West Africa enslaved Europeans, Berbers, and sub-Saharan Africans. The shifting economic conditions in the Americas and other areas would eventually change the slave trade significantly.

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African-American Studies

Vocational Education: Overview and Analysis

In recent decades a wealth of research and critical literature addressing the subject of vocational education has been written. In his book Vocational Education: Purposes, Traditions and Prospects, for example, author Stephen Billet examines the nature of vocational education, and provides both a conceptual framework for understanding what the term means, and how it is manifested both in academic and occupational settings. Billet differentiates between the term “occupation” and “vocation,” and devotes significant discussion to understanding the different forms that vocational education takes in real-world settings. By differentiating between the type of vocational education found in academic settings and that which is found in occupational settings, Billett helps readers better understand how vocational education serves the needs of individuals who are involved in such education and how it serves the larger needs of the societies in which individuals function.

Categories
African-American Studies

The struggles and achievements of African-American women between Reconstruction and the present era

Introduction

This discussion focuses on struggles and achievements of African American women between the reconstruction periods up to present time. Precisely, it embraces reflection profiles of nineteen century African American women, inevitably, comparing them with the twenty first century evolutionary manifestations now present in our society. It is true that all over the world women collectively or individually as a social gender have been marginalized to the mercy of male chauvinism.

Categories
African-American Studies Nursing

Nursing: The Health Assessment of Infants

Low Birth Weight and Prematurity

An infant is classified low birth weight when at birth the weight is less than 2,500 kilograms or 5 lbs. Research has shown where it could be a sequel of prematurity; maternal biological factors or a combination of both. Prematurity occurs before 37th week gestation. Predisposing factors are socio-economic conditions; poor nutrition; younger aged pregnant women; older reproductive years’ pregnancies; environmental pollutants; illicit drug abuse; hypertension and heart disease in the infant (Jarvis, 2012).

Categories
African-American Studies

Loosing parental love

When the civil war broke out in Sudan in 1983, I was not aware of what the possible effects of the war might be. As a young boy, I would ask my father to explain to me what war was. He would try to explain it to me but I never understood and I am not sure that I even understand it today. When I was five years old and my brother was seven, the enemy soldiers invaded our village and killed nearly everything that could walk and burned down all the houses and buildings. My brother and I ran in different directions in an effort to escape the soldiers and, in the process, I became separated from my parents. I would never see them again. For the next two months we walked across the desert in an attempt to get across the border into Ethiopia. We had little to eat or drink and, as a result, we were forced to eat wild leaves and stagnant water. For the first time, I realized what war was and meant. Once we crossed the border into Ethiopia we were taken to a refugee camp where we were placed with other children who had been separated from their parents. This event changed my life forever as I was displaced from my village and parents and I missed the experience of having grown up with the love of my parents; with having someone around to tell me that they loved me. The entire experience has left me feeling uncomfortable even saying the word “love.” I look upon the entire experience with much remorse and have hoped that things would improve but, unfortunately, matters did not.

Categories
African-American Studies

The Impact of Music on African-Americans in the 1960s And 1970s

The 1960’s and 1970s played host to some of the most spirited changes to take place in American society.  This  era shaped major changes in music, politics, revolutionary movements and led to an explosion of individual expression.  It was also an era of the growth of  African American youth involvement in politics, education, social issues and music. As a result of the African American music influence, many American youths were exposed to  new forms of  music and stylish clothing while expressing themselves politically and socially. The cultural change was not greeted or accepted at first because the normal sound of the sixties still magnified the sound of Elvis Presley, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. It did not match the new music followed by African American youths. The 1960’s were a time of upheaval in society, fashion, attitudes, and especially music. Before 1963, the music of the sixties still reflected the sound, style, and beliefs of the previous decade and many of the hit records were by artists who had found mainstream success in that fifties  (ThePeopleHistory.Com).